In 2014 I did Gaelforce North Sprint as a first timer and I learned a lot from it. I had been working for Gaelforce Events for 4 years and it was good to see things from the other side! Here is some advice from my experience on what is important to get you through your first attempt at this distance of race. Obviously if you are doing the full race you can adapt all of this advice or have a look at our first timer advice for Gaelforce West which involves a similar distance.


1. Remember this is a manageable distance and a stunning course so you can do it and it will definitely be worth all your effort.

2. Train in all weather as this is Donegal and there is a mountain involved and if you look at past photos of this race you will see how changeable the conditions can be.

3. Train off-road as well as on the road. This applies to running/walking and cycling. Train for the terrain you will be covering in the race.

4. Combine your training. In other words go for a cycle and then get off the bike and run or walk to the nearest hill and then climb it. This transitioning can be very hard on the day if you have not trained for it.

5. Find a friend or group to train with and to do the race with. It will be so much more fun and such a great motivator, especially when you are out there for 3 hours or more on the day!

6. You will be out there on the day for a long time so you need to be used to this and ready for it. Half hour training sessions will not cut it I am afraid.

7. Build stamina and strength. You will really notice this when you reach Mount Errigal and you realise you have to climb up there! Legs need to be strong.

8. Do not get stressed the day or the evening before. Make sure you have arranged your accommodation, that you will not be travelling late and that you will have time to eat and relax. Do not end up in a midge-infested tent eating midge-filled Spaghetti Bolognaise at midnight like I did!

9. Make sure you have the right clothing for every weather condition and that you have tested it beforehand. It is so important to be comfortable.

10. Do it for a reason. To improve fitness, to support a friend, to cross a finish line for the first time or whatever is important to you. It will get you through the hard bits.